Does cognitive training improve SAT results?
A group of college bound juniors recently completed a computer based program in which they trained for 30 – 40 minutes daily, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. We coached them in executive skills and strategies that helped them, to improve their memory, attention, reading rates and processing speed. Among students at the school who completed the PSAT in October of 2014, and then the SAT in 2015, we compared the outcomes for the group we trained, and their peers who did not. The goal was to see if our cognitive/executive function program could impact standardized test scores along with relevant global benefits.
We recognize our work is not a scientific study, however; our findings are very promising. When comparing the relative performance of the trained and untrained groups, we saw a statistically significant difference. Among students who trained, 71% improved the percentile rank that they were able to achieve on the SAT relative to the PSAT vs. just 42% of the untrained group.
We asked students who had completed the program to reflect on the broader benefits of the training. Here are the results of the survey.
Have any of the following improved for you after completing cognitive/executive function training?
|1. Overall Organization||Yes 66%|
|2. Time Management Skills||Yes 55%|
|3. Ability to Complete Tasks||Yes 72%|
|4. Being Less Distracted||Yes 78%|
|5. Ability to Listen and Understand||Yes 72%|
|6. Ability to Read and Understand||Yes 72%|
|7. Ability to Understand Math Problems||Yes 72%|
|8. Overall Confidence||Yes 66%|
|9. Word Finding Ability||Yes 55%|
|10. Ability to Recall Facts||Yes 94%|
|11. Ability to Follow Complex Instructions||Yes 83%|
|12. Ability to Focus for Longer||Yes 72%|
Based on the questionnaire, every student who trained felt that they had achieved at least some benefit from their training. More than two thirds indicated 9 or more benefits from the list and 94 percent cited improved ability to recall facts.
The essence of our work is to improve measurable aspects of intelligence such as working memory and processing speed, along with auditory processing, sustained attention and recall. Our findings indicate that strengthening these abilities can translate into better academic performance and increased test scores. We are looking to replicate or improve these results in a larger study of college bound juniors or seniors.
Cognitive training programs can be administered to students in school or remotely at home. If you’re interested in our programs, or in participating in a future study, please email or call Caryl or me. One of us will get right back to you.
Ted Backes, Director of Cognitive Training
Caryl Frankenberger, Ed.M. Learning Specialist